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A Comparison Between 'the Signalman' By Charles Dickens And 'the Red Room' By H.G. Wells

3646 words - 15 pages

A Comparison between 'The Signalman' by Charles Dickens and 'The Red Room' by H.G. Wells
How do Dickens and Wells create a sinister
and supernatural atmosphere in the opening of The Signalman and the
Red Room?

Dickens and Wells both create a sinister and supernatural atmosphere
in the opening of The Signalman and The Red Room by using the Gothic
features, such as the presence of grotesque characters, haunted rooms,
superstition and previous deaths. These features are all key ideas in
the Signalman and the Red Room, as Dickens and Wells have been
influenced by the particular popularity towards horror and
supernatural genre at that time of writing. To address the title, I
will analysis the text thoroughly for the key language that will
create a sinister and supernatural atmosphere, such as pronouns and
repetition of words.

The Signalman, by Charles Dickens, is about a powerless man who is
visited by a traveller (the narrator of The Signalman). The story is
inspired by a railway accident that Dickens was involved in, where the
train was derailed and ten people were killed. The whole story
revolves around just two characters, the narrator and the Signalman.
The powerless man works as a Signalman for the passing trains and
lives near by the train track. The railways were only recently
invented; so it was cutting edge technology. But, when the Signalman
sees the traveller for the first time he becomes afraid by the three
words that the traveller utters. As the two men spoke, the Signalman
tells the traveller the sinister reason to why he was so scared by the
traveller’s greeting. This is typical of Dickens later work as he then
used darker tones and more disciplined literature that had a greater
sense of unity. So by the end of the visit the two men had gradually
formed a firm friendship. The further meetings became more intense and
there was an increased air of mystery around what the Signalman was
saying. Dickens suspicion upon the newly invented trains was common
amongst many Victorians, therefore the use of this fear created the
desired atmosphere for the Signalman.

Similarly, the story of the Red Room by H.G. Wells begins with the
narrator speaking to one of the custodians about the infamous Red
Room. But the custodian had tried to stop him from entering the
sinister room, so the narrator had become very persistent to the
custodians, saying that he had to go into the Red Room. The custodians
had told him it was his own choosing, however, he did not listen to
them and was very confident of entering the Red Room. So, the
caretakers told him the directions of where the eerie room was. On his
way to the room, his conscience...

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